Sharing gratitude

It was late in the afternoon and I was tired. A knock on my office door.  One of my students came in and started to read to me from a card.  “I want to thank you for all your help in my self-healing project…I didn’t know the improvements were possible for me in a span of 5 weeks…. I thank you so much for encouraging and supporting me…. I have taken back control of myself and continue to make new discoveries about my identity and find my own happiness and fulfillment.,,, Thank you so much.”

I was deeply touched and my eyes started to fill with tears. At that moment, I felt so appreciated. We hugged. My tiredness disappeared and I felt at peace.

This student had completed the daily self-healing practices . When the university students practice a sequence of daily self-healing exercises outlined in the book, Make Health Happen (Peper, Gibney & Holt, 2002), most report significant improvement in their health and well-being as shown in Figure 1 (Peper et al, 2014).

slidesFigure 1. Self-rating by students after completing a personal health improvement project over a period of four weeks (Bier, Peper, & Burke, 2005).

The practice which students report impacts them profoundly and by which they experience a deepening connection and sense of agape (selfless unconditional caring and love) with another person is Sharing Gratitude.

Sharing Gratitude practice was adapted from Professor Martin Seligman’s 2004 TED presentation, The new era of positive psychology.

Take the opportunity during the holiday season to give joy to others. Just do the following:

  • Remember someone who did something for you that impacted your life in a positive direction and whom you never properly thanked.
  • Write a 300 word testimonial describing what the person did and how it positively impacted you.
  • Visit the person and when you meet her/him, read the testimonial to her/him (if the person cannot be visited, use Skype so you can see and connect with each other).

Although it may seem awkward to read the testimonial, after you have done it, you most likely will feel closer and more deeply connected to the person. Moreover, the person to whom you read the testimonial, will feel deeply touched and both of your hearts will open.

For more background information, watch Professor Martin Seligman’s Ted presentation below.

References:

Bier, M., Peper, E., & Burke, A. (2005). Integrated Stress Management with Make Health Happen: Measuring the Impact through a 5-Month Follow-Up. Presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Abstract published in: Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 30(4), 400.

https://biofeedbackhealth.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/2005-aapb-make-health-happen-bier-peper-burke-gibney3-12-05-rev.pdf

Peper, E., Gibney, K.H. & Holt. C. (2002). Make Health Happen: Training Yourself to Create Wellness. Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt. ISBN-13: 978-0787293314

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Health-Happen-Training-Yourself/dp/0787293318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450913114&sr=8-1&keywords=make+health+happen

Peper, E., Lin, I-M, Harvey, R., Gilbert, M., Gubbala, P., Ratkovich, A., & Fletcher, F. (2014). Transforming chained behaviors: Case studies of overcoming smoking, eczema and hair pulling (trichotillomania). Biofeedback, 42(4), 154-160.

https://biofeedbackhealth.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/transforming-chained-behavior-published.pdf

Seligman, M. (2004). The new era of positive psychology.  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html

 


3 Comments on “Sharing gratitude”

  1. […] Source: Sharing gratitude […]

  2. Ari says:

    Very interesting experiment! I remember doing this for your class!

  3. Bob Faw says:

    This is a wonderful way to build connection, happiness and enjoy the beauty you already have in your life even more.
    I use a number of similar activities with my students too. It is so gratifying for me to see what they do. Keep up the great work.


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